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parents from socially disadvantaged backgrounds. Themes in the group include the relationship between spoken and written language difficulties; cross-linguistic issues; spelling and writing development; evaluation of intervention programmes; training school staff and supporting parents; and the spoken and written language skills of young offenders.

Clinical Linguistics Clinical linguistics plays a key role in the description, analysis and remediation of communication impairment. Our research encompasses various communication impairments, including autism, cleft palate, developmental speech and language disorders and traumatic brain injury. We have developed computer-based technologies to assist speech- impaired people and interactional skills training for teaching assistants and speech and language therapy assistants, who work with children who have speech and language difficulties. We also carry out fundamental research in human communication with a view to its eventual application in clinical and related fields. This includes the study of children’s speech development in naturalistic contexts and the cross-linguistic phonetic analysis of naturalistic conversational speech.

Cognitive Neuroscience of Speech and Language Research within this theme focuses on developing biologically plausible accounts of speech and language processing across the lifespan and in accounting for the behavioural impairments observed following brain injury.

The group has developed new therapies for post- stroke speech disorders and technology to assist speech-impaired people. The relationship between language and other forms of cognition has been explored by examining the capacities of people with severe language impairment to sustain other forms of thinking and reasoning.

Our partnerships

We collaborate with partner universities across the UK and Europe and with a range of universities in the USA and Australia. Within the university, we also work with Computer Science and ScHARR on a range of multidisciplinary projects.

For more information see:



Professor Sara Howard –––

Human Communication Sciences

Research carried out by Sara Howard, Professor of Clinical Phonetics, and colleagues in the Department of Human Communication Sciences, is investigating the speech production and speech difficulties of children with a cleft palate.

A recent ESRC Research Fellowship has permitted Professor Howard to explore conversational speech in both

typically-developing children and children with speech production difficulties associated with a cleft palate. Using a

combination of detailed perceptual and instrumental phonetic analysis, speech

production in single words and in longer utterances is compared.

Looking at the phonetics of longer

utterances in different languages is also important and current work in the

department is exploring speech production associated with cleft palate in a range of languages.


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